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Banding together for a cure
The Richmond Hill Pharmacy fundraising team has raised over $4,000 for the American Diabetes Association thus far. They are (from left) Jeannie Paro, Lindsey Riggs, Stephanie Anderson, Jennifer Durden, Catherine Riggs, Tammy Morris, Cindy Chapman and Darcy Blakewood. Teammates not pictured include Vickie Cox, Kelly Dick and Stephanie LeFrancois. - photo by Ross Blair

For the fourth year in a row, local businesses have banded together to find a cure for diabetes and help diabetics cope with the disease.

Fundraising efforts have been going strong these past couple of months throughout the Coastal Empire as corporate teams have engaged in friendly competition to see who can raise the most money in the American Diabetes Association’s annual drive.

Richmond Hill Kroger Pharmacist Bill Hahn put Richmond Hill on the ADA fundraising map by bringing in more than $10,000 over the last three years.

With the transition to the new store, the pharmacy was unable to dedicate the time necessary to this year’s drive.

Employing many of the same tactics as Hahn, the folks at Richmond Hill Pharmacy decided to fill that void this year. Cindy Chapman, who is captaining the team along with co-worker Jennifer Durden, said local fundraising has been wildly successful thus far. She and her team of co-workers originally set a goal of $1,500 but have since nearly tripled that amount, with the current total reaching $4,200. The team’s new goal is $5,000.

"We never realized when we started this, we would get this much support," Durden said. "It’s very exciting and rewarding."

One of Chapman’s duties at the store is a diabetic shoe fitter. She is shown fitting shoes in a commercial that airs locally. She said a representative with ADA saw the commercial, which prompted a phone call from the organization.

"They called me and asked if we wanted to put a team together," Chapman said. "I immediately agreed to it. We deal with a lot of diabetics here and they’re not only our customers, they are our friends. I see the struggle that they go through and I’m all for supporting this organization. The only thing I didn’t expect is how much fun this would be."

Chapman said the American Diabetes Association has made leaps and bounds over the years in helping diabetics get the medication and supplies that they otherwise could not afford. The organization is also working toward finding a cure.

More than $2,000 was raised in just one day, during a Sept. 13 event held at the pharmacy. The event included a sidewalk sale, silent auctions, raffle tickets and bake and hot dog sales. Chapman said local businesses went to bat for the ADA by donating tons of stuff to the local auction. Among the items available were a round of golf from Sterling Links, a bench from Badcock Furniture, and gift certificates from businesses such as Plantation Lumber and Baldino’s.

"We had so many local businesses pitch in, and that was a huge part of the event’s success," Chapman said.

Other fundraising efforts include donations made at the store and through the internet. Both of these options remain available as fundraising efforts will continue up through Oct. 17. Store donations include your name being added to the paper feet display on the window. Online donations are accepted now by logging onto, click "Sponsor a Walker", select "Find a Team" and type in "Richmond Hill Pharmacy", then click on one of the employee’s names and donate as much as you would like.

The site refers to "walkers" in reference to the last fundraising event for the ADA competition. The annual "Walk on the Wild Side" walkathon at Savannah’s Oatland Island, which all the pharmacy team members will be participating in, is on Oct. 18. The event is open to the public and will also feature free blood glucose screenings, fitness information, professional on-site advice on medications, live music, face painting, Bounce Around, the Sand Gnats pitching tent and complimentary massages by Savannah School of Massage Therapy. More information is available by calling 888-DIABETES.

The walkathon will also play host to announcing the fundraising winners. According to the website, RH Pharmacy is currently in the lead. They are competing against Savannah teams representing businesses such as K-Mart, Rite Aid, and Savannah Riverboat Cruises to see who can raise the most money for the cause.

The next event will be an Oct. 6 fundraiser at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. Just dine at the restaurant after 4 p.m., and 15 percent of your bill will go straight to the RH Pharmacy ADA campaign. For more information about RH Pharmacy’s fundraising, call Durden or Chapman at 756-3331.

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